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Old October 5 2013, 03:52 PM   #16
Christopher
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Re: Pre-TOS five year missions in the books

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Well, whether that's really new as of STID depends largely upon whether one considers William Shatner's voiceover in TOS to function as words from the mouth of an omniscient narrator, speaking of the way things are in-universe. If you do (and I do), then it's reasonably explicit that the TOS Enterprise had been sent by Starfleet on a mission that had a planned duration of five years and that had the intended purpose to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life forms, etc. Perhaps you are arguing that the TOS Enterprise's flight path wasn't always dedicated to traveling in deep space, since she often returned to base, or that the mission was not one exclusively of exploration (both of which I'd concede)?
First: My point is that the Abramsverse is an alternate timeline. It diverged from the Prime history in 2233 and events unfolded differently there. So even if 5-year exploration tours are new as of 2259 in the Abramsverse, that does not prove that they were new as of 2259 in the Prime universe, because the histories are distinct.

Second: The TOS narration about the mission that the Enterprise was on as of the time of TOS itself does not prove anything about whether earlier 5-year missions existed. A single example is not evidence of a pattern. So maybe the 5-year mission the Enterprise was on from 2266-70 was one of several in the ship's history, or maybe it was the first one it had ever been on. We just don't know, because one example in isolation proves nothing.

And it's just not logical to assume that every single starship mission in the entirety of Starfleet is exactly 5 years long. There's no sense in that. Logically there would be many different kinds of mission of different durations. For instance -- the mission in the second pilot to probe the edge of the galaxy. It would've taken months of travel time just to get to the nearest face of the galactic disk and months to return, plus who knows how long on the survey in between. So it doesn't make sense to assume that a single dedicated months-long assignment would've been part of a "5-year mission" of general patrol and exploration. The mission profiles are too distinct. It makes more sense if, in 2265, Kirk was assigned a months-long mission the galactic rim, and then afterward, in 2266, he was assigned a 5-year general patrol/exploration tour.
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